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Western Force keep finals hopes alive with shock Hurricanes win

The Force were looking to keep their finals hopes alive against the visiting Hurricanes.

The Western Force have kept their finals hopes alive, upsetting the Hurricanes 27-22 at HBF Park.

The hosts pulled off a gutsy win over Moana Pasifika on Tuesday, and needed a win to keep their dreams alive in Tim Sampson's final home game.

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After two early penalties, they were stunned by the visitors, who took a 17-6 lead through a Josh Moorby double.

However, the Force had so much to play for and showed it with front-rowers Santiago Medrano and Andrew Ready scoring both sides of the break.

With the game coming down to the wire, it was Byron Ralston in his potential farewell who stepped up, powering over to seal the win.

It ensures Super Rugby Pacific comes down to the final game, with the Highlanders needing a win or losing bonus point against the Rebels.

The potential farewell ended in heartbreaking fashion for Richard Kahui, forced off the field with a concussion after being collected by Du’Plessis Kirifi.

Ian Prior, who was in his 100th game for the club, kicked two early penalties as the hosts looked to build an advantage despite the yellow carding of Jeremy Thrush.

The Hurricanes kept calm and Josh Moorby proved pivotal in the first half as he fought over the line in the 20th minute.

The fullback then finished off a great run from Aidan Morgan to dive in under the posts, shortly followed over by a charging Brayden Iose.

With their finals chances slipping away, it was Argentinan international Santiago Medrano that sparked the Force's comeback, powering over the line to reduce the margin to 16-11 at the break.

They would take the lead shortly after the break after a yellow card to Salesi Rayasi, with Andrew Ready recovering from a head knock to touch down at the back of the rolling maul.

The impressive Moorby turned playmaker with a great pass to Rayasi, restoring their lead with 20 minutes to go.

It looked set to be the end of Tim Sampson's tenure at the Force as the Hurricanes looked set to hold on.

In the end, it was another departing player Byron Ralson that kept their season alive.

The Connacht-bound centre brushed off three tackles and slammed the ball down, putting them ahead by five with just three minutes remaining.

Greg Holmes and the Force's pack produced one last great scrum to earn a penalty and whilst Reesjan Pasitoa's touch-finder failed to find the line, they found a way to hold on and secure the win.

It means the Force's finals hopes rest in the Rebels' hands, needing to beat the Highlanders by more than seven at AAMI Park.


Western Force:15 Jake McIntyre, 14 Brad Lacey, 13 Bryon Ralston, 12 Richard Kahui, 11 Manasa Mataele, 10 Reesjan Pasitoa, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Jackson Pugh, 7 Tim Anstee, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Ryan McCauley, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 Tom Robertson.

Replacements: 16 Feleti Kaitu’u, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Will Sankey, 20 Jack Winchester, 21 Michael McDonald, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Kyle Godwin

Hurricanes:15 Josh Moorby, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Bailyn Sullivan, 12 Billy Proctor, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Aidan Morgan, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Brayden Iose, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Caleb Delany, 5 Justin Sangster, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Pouri Rateke-Stones.

Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Tevita Mafileo, 19 Blake Gibson, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Teihorangi Walden.

Referee: Angus Gardner

Assistant referees: Graham Cooper, Jordan Kaminski

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